Cavell claims, that photographs are meant to highlight the world’s presence to us, whereas paintings are meant to show our presence to the world. In other words, whereas paintings are world as a whole, photographs are of the world. What does that mean?
Stanley Cavell interconnects the questions “What is art?” and “What is the importance of art?” He discovers that only movies are generally important, while music, paintings, novels etc. are not. In describing the conditions under which movies are made, he prepares the answers for the question “What is film?”
In “More of The World Viewed” of his The World Viewed Stanley Cavell claims that movies provide the myth of lived democracy against the myth of ruled democracy. But they cannot provide it by showing democracy at work, since that would made it a mere utopia. He explains this by referring to the 30ies’ comedies.
Cavell heightens this statements about movie stars into a very surprising, worth of thinking about and challenging one. He writes: The stars “realized the myth of singularity” (p.35), wherefore “movies have an inherent tendency toward the democratic, or anyway the idea of human equality” (p. 34). – What are his reasons to state such a daring thesis?
A stage character is an independent entity created by a playwright. Contrary to this, a movie star is doubly bound. It’s bound to a single performer and to the public. How Stanley Cavell comes to this idea and what this idea means I will explain in the following.